Monday, January 18, 2010

Prologue to Mindswim 6

I found this prologue to a creative writing magazine that I used to publish in college. Funny how you look back at the things you write and see the bipolar illness so clearly. I remember when I wrote these first magazines, I thought they were filled with hope. In the piece below, I had begun to realize that so much sadness ran throughout the whole of my writing.

A fifth grader remembers fourth grade and asks what a fool he’s been. I do the same with the old issues of Mindswim. I am nearly embarrassed. There is an overwhelming current of sadness throughout the canon. I had hoped to write myself out of it. I wanted to prove that the greatest hope is found after finishing the toughest journey. But as the project went on, the sadness was not weeded out. Instead it grew into a suspicion of government, of media, of any authority. It is a likely end for a young writer without a strand of confidence who relies upon a worn-out gray sentiment as motivation.
I don’t wish to defame this sentiment, it gave me the initial reason to write. But there are goals that art must meet and not all artwork achieves them. One cannot rely upon a tingling sensation in the breast as supreme arbiter of all artistic choice. I entered a viscious era when everything I wrote seemed perfectly meaningful. Perhaps my goal wasn’t clearly defined or my only real audience was myself. I fell. I don’t warn against using dreadly emotions as fuel for creativity. Emotion tells us exactly what it is to be human. I say be careful, because ideas are real, and those born of fear lead to narrowing corridors. The fourth issue predates a psychotic episode and overflows with flags which clearly point to self destruction.
Mindswim 5 was written about that episode and is the first issue the supersedes the fatalistic, angst-ridden muck. It does so because it recognizes the morose bog as mental stasis and an emotional flat spin.
To the reader of Mindswim 6, I say greetings, you’ve made it this far (and don’t worry about where its author has been.)

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